According to a 2018 study by the Federal Reserve, the popularity of electronic payments grew faster from 2016 to 2017 than any other year on record. Since the widespread adoption of non-prepaid debit cards by consumer banking clients began nearly two decades ago, payment systems lawyers, financial services entities, and government agencies have been paying careful attention to the use of electronic payments. Remote payments have also continued to grow as a share of general-purpose card payments, and the value of in-person, chip-authenticated card payments surpassed in-person payments without chip authentication for the first time in 2017. Meanwhile, large commercial banks continued to experience a decline in the number of check payments and cash withdrawals from automated teller machines (ATM).

Payment Systems | Trends in noncash payments, by number, 2000-2017

Image source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Private studies confirmed these trends, reporting that in 2017 more than 70 percent of online shoppers said they used digital-payment services, including mobile wallets, one-click checkout buttons, and peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps. Four consumers in 10 said they always or sometimes used such digital solutions when they paid. However, nearly 40 percent of consumers surveyed also said they opted not to complete a digital transaction, stating concerns about online security—concerns supported by the fact that 73 percent of merchants reported that fraudulent online sales have remained the same or even increased. This presents a significant risk to retailers, and the banks and electronic payment providers that process these transactions.

In this shifting landscape, Bradley’s Payment Systems team can help. We have decades of experience in representing financial institutions, e-payment providers, payment processors, and online retailers in regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, licensing issues, litigation matters, corporate transactions, and protecting intellectual property. From credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, gift cards, Automated Clearing House (ACH) transactions, and rewards programs to emerging technologies such as mobile wallets and cryptocurrencies, we leverage our extensive experience in the payments industry to counsel clients facing various challenges in this rapidly evolving legal landscape. We pride ourselves on our ability to create value through our legal experience and client-centered service.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team has assisted a variety of institutions in “remaking” themselves to comply with the myriad of regulatory regimes covering this industry. Bradley has also acted in an advisory capacity, assisting clients in responding to regulatory inquiries, as well as in developing more robust compliance and “best practice” programs, often under the guidance of pending consent orders or regulatory directives. These efforts include:

  • Performing comprehensive internal risk assessments
  • Developing comprehensive compliance management systems
  • Developing appropriate action plans to improve practices and remediate known issues
  • Providing general and targeted compliance training for various industry personnel, including boards of directors, legal and compliance personnel, and line-level employees.
  • Developing programs for the supervision of third-party vendors and law firms
  • Reviewing and developing policies and procedures for essential business functions
  • Advising clients about disclosures, advertising, and marketing practices under existing regulations, including those related to the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act
  • Handling day-to-day compliance issues, including those involving unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts or practices (UDAAP), the CARD Act, the Prepaid Card Rule, the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), as well as various other federal and state laws
  • Advising credit card issuers and other financial services companies on consumer bankruptcy laws, including developing best practices when their customers file for bankruptcy
  • Advising on regulatory implications of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency trading
  • Providing guidance on PCI DSS compliance and broader data security issues related to handling payment card transactions
  • Advising on privacy and regulatory implications of implementing emerging technologies in payments and transactions
  • Advising on Automated Clearing House transactions

Please see Bradley’s Regulatory Compliance page for additional information regarding the depth of our regulatory compliance experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team has considerable experience handling licensing matters in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and relevant U.S. territories. Whether it is strategic acquisitions of licensed entities or procuring or renewing licenses, we put our strong relationships with each state’s trade associations and our familiarity and experience with dealing with specific regulators to work for our clients in resolving licensing issues.

Please see Bradley’s Licensing and Examinations page for additional information regarding the depth of our licensing experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team routinely represents clients in a wide range of government enforcement actions and investigations, including actions brought by federal or state regulators and state attorneys general, as well as investigations and enforcement actions by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). We have successfully resolved the majority of these investigations before lawsuits were filed, and we resolved a high percentage of these matters through direct meetings with the government. As part of this practice, our efforts include:

  • Conducting confidential internal investigations to identify noncompliance and determine root cause
  • Assessing physical and electronic documentation, identifying relevant information, and responding appropriately to government requests
  • Interviewing witnesses and preparing employees for questions from regulators
  • Self-disclosing issues to regulators
  • Working with examiners during on-site reviews
  • Challenging examination and investigation findings
  • Responding to Proposed Action and Request for Response (PARR) letters and supervisory letters
  • Responding to investigatory subpoenas
  • Handling multi-state litigation or administrative actions
  • Crafting creative solutions to facilitate amicable resolutions while aggressively defending against the underlying allegation
  • Developing and implementing remediation action plans

Please see Bradley’s Examinations and CIDs page for additional information regarding the depth of our examinations experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team represents clients on a nationwide basis. For years, Bradley attorneys have defended cases brought against banks, lenders, credit card issuers, finance companies, payment processors, and other institutions in connection with a broad array of business practices. These matters – involving both individual claims and class actions – arise from claims related to a variety of consumer protection statutes, including the CARD Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), and other federal and regulatory schemes.

Where We Have Assisted Clients

Litigation Map

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Please see Bradley’s Litigation Practice Group page for additional information regarding the depth of our litigation experience.

Bradley’s Payment Systems team incudes corporate and securities attorneys who advise investors and companies in corporate and transactional payment systems and emerging payment matters. Our corporate and securities attorneys cover the entire life cycle of a business, from formation and early-stage start up to emerging growth and developed businesses.

Whether it is a start-up or a large, high-profile corporation, our corporate and securities attorneys provide legal guidance related to M&A, corporate governance, regulatory filings, and contract negotiations. Our services address a wide range of payment system provider needs, including:

  • Data collection and privacy terms and conditions
  • Data security
  • Software platforms
  • Cloud services
  • Emerging payment technologies
  • Prepaid access
  • Mobile payment technology
  • End user terms and conditions
  • Establishing and implementing rewards and gift card programs
  • Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payments and exchanges

Please see Bradley’s Corporate and Securities Practice Group page for additional information regarding the depth of our corporate experience.

For many companies, their most valuable asset is their intellectual property. Bradley’s Payment Systems team demonstrates the skills and tenacity needed to protect and defend the valuable IP rights of our clients. Bradley’s attorneys help payment systems clients acquire, keep and enforce their IP rights. We have counseled clients ranging from startups and technology incubators to mid-sized companies and large multinational corporations on a variety of IP issues, including:

  • Patent prosecution, maintenance, litigation and licensing
  • Trademark prosecution, maintenance, litigation and licensing
  • Trade secrets
  • Brand development
  • Payment technology development and commercialization issues
  • Patent and trademark landscape and freedom to operate searches

Please see Bradley’s Intellectual Property Practice Group page for additional information regarding the depth of our intellectual property experience.